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University of Toronto St. George
Peter King

PHL100 Notes Introduction Valid argument: premises are false but conclusion true; determined by the form. Sound argument: all premises are true and conclusion are true. Example: All tigers are mammals. = A are B. No mammals are creatures with scales. = No B are C. Therefore, no tigers are creatures with scales. = No A are C. Socrates CRITO Crito’s Moral Arguments: Socrates’s death will be a loss for Crito and the other disciples, and hence it is natural for them to do all they can to avoid this loss; Crito and the others have the risk of getting a bad reputation if it seems that they did not get Socrates out when they could well have done so; That Socrates should not be concerned about possible repercussions from his escape, because they are willing to take the risk; If Socrates refuses to escape he will be implicitly endorsing the judges’ verdict, and indeed would be doing to himself what his enemies would do to him; Socrates will be acting irresponsibly and be “betraying his sons” by not being around to look after them. …but Socrates refuses due to his 3 moral principles. Socrates’s Three Moral Principles: 1) Principle of Justice: one must not do injustice 2) Principle of Just Action: one must not do injustice, even for injustice received 3) Principle of Just Agreements: one should keep agreements, provided they are just (if someone asks you to hold their machete, it would be just for you to return them. However, if the person returns stumbling drunk, it wouldn’t be right to return the machete) APOLOGY In the Apology, he’s accused for: not recognizing Gods (atheism); introducing strange deities and corrupting the youth. • The early accusations were: Socrates studies things in the sky and below earth, makes the worse argument appear the better and teaches these same things to others. Sophists: “wise ones” who taught tutorials to speak persuasively to make money. Socrates’s distinctiveness: 1. “What is X” question: specifically inquired nature of (particular) moral virtue. 2. Socratic Method: cross-examine interlocutors about their beliefs (on moral matters) and judge their soundness. Meant to be a cooperative venture but often ended without definitive resolution. 3. Socratic Irony: Socrates's irritating tendency to praise his hearers while undermining them, or to disparage his own superior abilities while manifesting them. Technique where the questioner admits (falsely) to not knowing something as a way of tricking the other person into revealing his own lack of knowledge or a flaw in his logic. Socratic irony involves pretending to be ignorant to show someone else is ignorant: thus, the irony. 4. Socratic Ignorance: Socrates always maintained that he did not know anything, or that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing, or that he knew nothing of value, or that he knows what he does not know (which is most things or at least most important things). 5. Weakness of will: Socrates held that knowledge isn’t only necessary for virtue but also sufficient for it, which led him to deny the reality of ‘weakness of will’—where one knows better and does the worse (desire overpowering a person’s will to do good). 6. Socrates held that morality is impersonal and complete; it makes no special exceptions (impersonality) and can demand anything of you (completeness). 7. He held that morality is a rational enterprise, based on principles that need to stand up to examination and argument. Plato Conventional Morality/Cephalus: Justice is to speak the truth and to pay one’s debts. Against this, Socrates objects that “paying one’s debts” is not always just-hence Cephalus’s definition is too broad, including things that aren’t just. Tribal Morality/Polemarchus: Justice is to benefit one’s friends and to harm one’s enemies. Against this Socrates argues that 1. justice would then be a useless craft 2. it is a craft that one may have without being just at all 3. it isn’t clear who is a friend and who is an enemy, and even if the definition were revised to take this into account, it still isn’t just to harm anyone. The Social Realist/Thrasymachus: Justice is the advantage of the stronger. This involves two separate theses: 1. The ruler rules for his own advantage. 2. Injustice is more profitable than justice (*Justice is not a virtue; Injustice is more profitable than justice, for a city as well as for an individual; The life of the unjust man is more profitable than the life of the just man). Three Kinds of Goods: 1. those that are welcome for their own sakes (joy, ‘harmless pleasures’) 2. those that are welcome for their own sake and for their consequences (knowledge, health) 3. those that are welcome for their consequences alone (going to the dentist) • Socrates classifies justice under #2, whereas Glaucon says most people would put it under #3. Three Arguments against justice: 1. Injustice is the natural human condition; justice has been devised as a conventional means to avoid the evil of suffering injustice, as a consequence of weakness. Hence there is no motive to be just if one is powerful enough to not require such conventional protection. 2. The Ring of Gyges: story meant to show that no one is just willingly, but rather anyone who acts justly does so under compulsion. 3. Putting aside the good consequences of justice and the evil consequences of injustice, the life of the totally unjust man is better than the life of the totally just man. Imagine a totally unjust man who appears to all to be just, and a totally just man who appears to all unjust. This is to sharply distinguish what is due to each in virtue of what each one is as opposed to how each one appears to be. The totally unjust man, who appears unjust, will be “whipped, stretched on the rack, imprisoned, have his eyes burnt out, and, after suffering every kind of evil, he will be impaled”- whereas the totally unjust man will reap all the conventional rewards and pleasures of life. Life of an unjust man would be preferable. Healthy Society: needs and mutually interdependent production ,under PS. • Principle of Specialization: Each person should do only the job in society for which he/she is best suited. o This is in the end nothing more than society of pigs… Feverish Society: involves more than what is ‘necessary’; the increase in population and in wealth and luxuries requires a new social class, the Guardians. This class eventually divides into two: the warriors and the rulers. • How to educate warrior class: strict censorship in music, stories, etc. because children are malleable and impressionable; they shouldn’t be surrounded by things that influence them in the bad way. • The Formation of Moral Character: The education of the Guardians, and why not only education, but the right kind of education, makes all the difference. Noble Lie: the categories of Rulers, Auxiliaries, Farmers, etc. was not due to circumstances within the people's control or education, but because of God's intervention. God, the Lie went, had put gold, silver, and iron into each person’s soul, and those metals determined where a person's station was in life was. The Lie is necessary, Plato argues, in order to keep a stable social structure. Social Virtues: since the society is ideal, it must contain standard virtues. • Wisdom: found in the society’s ‘sound judgment’ about social matters as a whole, clearly the province of the rulers. • Courage: found in the capacity of a part of the city to preserve its belief about what is to be feared and what not, namely in the warriors. • Moderateness: a kind of “harmony” or “orderliness” located in the diffusion of the same opinion throughout the society about who should rule and who should be ruled; people understand their place in society. Justice: “the possession of one’s own and performance of one’s own task”. Individual Virtues: To carry through the analogy of society and the individual, Plato argues that there are 3 parts of the soul which correspond to the 3 classes of society; he then identifies the virtues within each individual soul as the counterparts of the social virtues described in social virtue. Proof that there are 3 parts of the soul: The Principle of Opposites: If it desires A and not A at the same time, it proves that there is more than one soul (Example: I want to eat pizza because it’s good, but I don’t want to at the same time, because it’s bad for my health—there is more than the appetitive soul). The Principle of Relatives: thirst & drink = relatives. We can be angry with our desires. Therefore, spiritedness is distinct from appetitive part of the soul. • But spiritedness is found in children before they are rational and furthermore reason can oppose spiritedness. Therefore, there are 3 distinct parts of the soul: reasoning (rational) and desiring (appetitive) element and spiritedness. The Traditional Values: a. wisdom is the rule of the rational part of the soul b. courage is the activity of the spirited part of the soul, regardless of pain and pleasure c. moderateness is harmony among the parts of the soul so that each part believes reason ought to rule d. justice is each part of the soul respecting its proper place in the hierarchy. Separation of Parents and Children: • Weak separation: Children are not to be raised by their biological parents, but by professional child-care specialists; referring to the Principle of Specialization, bearing a child is no reason to think that one would be any good at raising it, especially were trained professionals available to do the job. • Strong separation: Children and parents are to be kept in ignorance of one another’s identities; have to do with the proper object of affective bonds—the affective bonds between biological parents and children are removed by ignorance, and so a potentially divisive force in the society is taken away and this will open up a new focus for such parental or filial affection, namely the society itself, thereby increasing social cohesion and unity. The Theory of Forms (Platonic Forms): aspect of reality beyond the one which we can see, an aspect of reality even more real than the one we see. This aspect of reality, the intelligible realm, is comprised of unchanging, eternal, absolute entities, which are called “Forms.” These absolute entities—such as Goodness, Beauty, Redness, Sourness, and so on—are the cause of all the objects we experience around us in the visible realm. • Knowledge and opinion are different capacities. Therefore, sights and sounds are objects of opinion and not of knowledge and therefore lovers of sights and sounds are mistaken in their contention that they have knowledge. To Plato, “knowledge” must be a matter of having a cognitive grasp of what truly is. The Divided Line: about the relative standing of knowledge and opinion; one of the examples Plato tells in order to tell the readers something about the Forms. In this case, the divided line is showing where the Form actually is. He makes this line and divides it into 4 unequal parts. There is a hierarchy of things according to how true they are. Understanding is the highest condition of the soul because it corresponds to 4 conditions of the soul. • 4 levels of things that exist: images (directed at mere shadows) > belief/opinion (directed at becoming) > mathematical reasoning (directed at the world qua intelligible) > pure understanding (directed at the Forms). • Thus, according to the line, the Form is in the intelligible realm with the mathematical knowledge while images and opinions are in the physical realm. • Philosophers are concerned with understanding, the highest part of the soul. The Cave: Plato’s analogy that contributes to his theory that Philosophers ought to rule. Philosophers are the ones who made it out of the cave and have experienced the Forms thus recognize the “truth” (the difference from what is normally thought to be true from what is actually true). They must be compelled to go back into the cave and guide the rest of the prisoners through his knowledge of the Forms that he now possesses. There are 5 types of persons, corresponding to 5 types of societies: • Just person: reasoning part of the soul predominates • Timocratic person: spirited part of the soul predominates • The person in whom the appetitive part of the soul predominates: Oligarchic person ruled by necessary desires (desire for money above all); Democratic person ruled by necessary and unnecessary desires (luxuries); Tyrannical person ruled by all desires, including ‘lawless’ desires. Why the tyrannical person is the most unhappy of all: he must spend his life plotting and planning on one hand and flattering his supports on the other hand—he has to watch out for those who try to take over his status so he is in fear (Political Proof); he doesn’t know what is good/most pleasant for him and he’s not in control of his desires and decisions (Psychological Proof); his pleasures are false and illusory because bodily pleasures are not real pleasures and they want more than what is necessary (Metaphysical Proof) Philosopher king: philosophers ought to rule because they are the only ones who grasp the fundamental principles of right and wrong and possess the technical knowledge to think about them sensibly and productively. • Philosophers loves not mere appearances but the reality that lies behind the appearances and loves the Forms • Philosophers are in the best position to judge what the best is and happiest for the people because they can distinguish different parts of the soul and know what is “just” • Philosophers at the top of the rule > democratic state (honour-loving class; warriors); money-loving (ruled by tyranny). 1. Rational- Rulers (desire: truth)  On the top of other parts of soul. 2. Spiritual- Guardians (desire: honour & glory/emotions)  Social (about what others think) 3. Appetitive- Producers (desire: pleasure)  Anti-social (just about oneself). Aristotle DE ANIMA (On the Soul) Hylomorphic theory: Soul to body = form to matter * An example to explain the difference between form and matter is a house. House is a composite of form and matter. The matter of the house is mortar, bricks, and whatever you need to build the house. The form is the structure that the house takes. Compilation of bricks are just a matter but not an actual house. Form is more about the shape of the house. • soul is a certain kind of ‘organization’ of the body and is the first kind of actuality • soul is the form of the body, the principle of life found in a certain kind of body (one that has structural and functional organized parts by having specific organs) To Aristotle, there are (at least) two kinds of potentiality/ability something can have: • First potentiality: we can speak Chinese even if we have no clue how to do so; it’s the sort of thing humans can do but animals can’t. • First actuality: if we take Chinese classes and learn how to speak it, we have actualized our human ability to be a Chinese speaker. • Second potentiality: knowing how to speak Chinese but not actively be speaking Chinese at the moment (have further potentiality to speak Chinese). • Second actuality: when we start speaking Chinese, we are actualizing that second potentiality. o Soul is first kind of actuality = being alive in whatever way is appropriate for a living thing, as it has certain capabilities that can be further actualized at some time. Types of souls: nutritive (nutrition, reproduction, growth/decay; plants), sensitive (power of movement, ability to take in and process information from the world; animals), intellective (operate in accordance with a rational principle; humans). • Imagination and desire are difficult to be classified. Desire must operate together with thought (cannot be sufficient to initiate movement by itself). Any purposive behaviour aims at what is object of desire, which means that this has to be good or appear good; in order for there to be movement directed towards it, it must be a realizable good. Thinking: isn’t a passive process; involves the mind’s activity and thought can abstract from particular features of things. Thinking is intrinsically a matter of abstraction and there is the “agent intellect” as part of the mind. Sense-perception vs. Thinking Subconscious action Conscious action (voluntary) Instinct Knowledge (taking in info/logical) Cannot be overloaded Can be overloaded Different types of sensibles: Common sensibles (can be grasped by more than one faculty of senses); Incidental sensibles (you don’t sense them in themselves; inferential concepts); Proper sensibles NICHO. ETHICS The Highest Good: 1. The highest good must be a complete end and there is only one highest good. • if there is only one complete end, then that is the highest good • if there are several complete ends, then they can be ordered in a scale from least to most complete and the most complete will be the highest good 2. Highest good is happiness because it is self-sufficient that it is pursued for its own sake and not for something else (not a psychological state of happiness but flourishing). The Function Argument: way of evaluating things if they are “good”; we could find out what ‘happiness’ is if we grasp the characteristic activity of a human being. 1. Something is good if it functions. 2. Something is good if it functions well (do well in their role) 3. Human good is the activity of the soul in accordance with virtue (and if there are several virtues, in accordance with best and most complete one). Moral Virtues: • Moral virtue is state of character acquired by habit (3 states: having the ability to speak a language/power to learn one without yet being able to speak it; knowing a language but not at the moment speaking it; speaking a language, that is, uttering sentences in the language). o Learning how to be virtuous is like learning a language. • Virtuous action springs from a firm and unchangeable character in the right way (virtuous action is triggered when the agent has a) knowledge and b) chooses the act c) for its own sake; the performance of the action should be accompanied by proper emotions). • Moral virtue is a relative mean between excess and deficiency in emotions and actions. o The Doctrine of the Mean: Aristotle believes that virtues are the mean of two vices. The doctrine reminds us that there are always two opposite errors which we must avoid. Choose the middle between excess and deficiency, relative to each individual (i.e. courage is the relative mean between the excess: rashness and deficiency: coward). It is the rational choice consisting in a mean relative to us and determined by reason by reference to which the practically wise person would determine it. The Action Theory: processes/principles behind cases of (im)moral actions. • Voluntary Action: the origin of action is within the agent and agent is aware of circumstances of the action. • Involuntary Action: the origin of action is outside the agent (reflex, force) • Mixed of Voluntary & Involuntary Action: chosen in particular situation but wouldn’t otherwise be chosen (throwing cargo so ship doesn’t sink). • Non-voluntary Action: agent is ignorant of the relevant circumstances (who the agent is, what he is doing, who is acted upon, the means employed, the end in view, and manner of action). o Consequent ignorance: it is itself the product of voluntary action, either direct/habitual. o Concomitant ignorance: wouldn’t change the action were it not present/were the agent to have the relevant knowledge. o Antecedent ignorance: not voluntary and cause of agent doing what he would otherwise not do. Rational soul: calculative and contemplative/Irrational soul: nutritive and appetitive. Commission: killing someone/Omission: letting someone die. It has to do with whether one chooses to try to do some action or chooses to not try to do it (choice). Happiness/Good Life: 1) contemplation (most pleasant, self-sufficient, continuous and divine). 2) life of moral virtue. Pleasurable amusements: not a good life because “it would be absurd if our end were amusement, and we laboured and suffered all of our lives for the sake of amusing ourselves” (this is questionable). Descartes We are forced to believe in stuff habitually and they come back to us to make us continue to believe even in the things that are false. Knowledge is a guide to truth! Discovery of his existence (cognito): Inferentialist Interpretation: from his reflections, Meditator draws the conclusion that he exists; he is deductively certain of his existence, inferring it from some other claim(s). Pragmatic Interpretation: his very act of propounding a claim makes the content of that claim true (self-supportive truth). Recognition that he is essentially a thinking thing: 1) There are thoughts 2) thoughts are owned 3) thoughts are real attributes 4) real attributes belong to something 5) the something to which real attributes belong is a substance 6) that substance to which they belong is a substance in which there are thoughts 7) that substance in which there are thoughts is a thinking subs
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